Volkswagen welcomes a new addition to the Golf family for 2010, the Golf Wagon that replaces the Jetta Wagon in the lineup.

This is the sixth generation of the Golf, which has sold more than 26 million units around world in the past 35 years, making it the all-time best selling model for Volkswagen, surpassing even the legendary Beetle.

During those years, the Golf has also been known as the Rabbit in North America, but that name is gone for 2010 as the car returns as a Golf on this side of the ocean.

Volkswagen calls the Golf family “the most comprehensive model lineup available to Canadian consumers” and it’s hard to argue, considering the addition of the Wagon to the lineup.

Golf is now a family of four with the three- and five-door hatchbacks and the “hot hatch” GTI in addition to the Wagon. In fact, there are even more variations when you consider the GTI is offered in both three- and five-door models and some Golfs are available with either gasoline or clean diesel engines.

While the other hatchbacks are built in Wolfsburg, Germany, the Golf Wagon comes to North America from Mexico.

It is the largest Golf ever, with the most interior room and plenty of leg and headroom.

About 75 per cent of all Jetta Wagons sold in Canada these days are diesels and Volkswagen expects that trend to carry over with the Golf Wagon. This car really has no competition in the marketplace— it’s the only clean diesel compact wagon available.

The TDI?Wagon, with the 2.0-litre 140 hp clean diesel engine, has torque galore, 236 lb/ft to be exact at 1,750 rpm. Mated with a six-speed twin clutch DSG transmission it offers great performance and exceptional fuel economy.

In fact, it achieves slightly better fuel economy than the six-speed manual transmission, while shifting gears precisely within four one-hundredths of a second. It also has a range of 1,190 kilometres on a tank of fuel.

The Wagon starts at $22,675 for the Trendline model with five-speed manual transmission. A six-speed automatic adds $1,400 to the price tag.

Meanwhile, the original GTI is back for another go-around. It’s priced $700 more than last year, but has more standard features.

After a test drive, it was easy to see why the GTI has become an icon in the “hot hatch” category. The GTI gets off the line quickly and the handling is sure and precise, even in tight hairpin turns.

But the real fun was watching the pros in action during some “hot laps” at the end of the session. That’s where you really see what these cars can do in the right hands.

Among the features on the GTI, priced from $28,675 to $31,075 are bi-xenon adaptive front headlights, a premium touch screen audio system, Sirius satellite radio and Bluetooth connectivity. Options include a luxury leather package ($2,600), a Technology Package ($1,900), power sunroof ($1,400), 18-inch alloy wheels with all-season tires ($975) and rear side airbags ($450).

2010 VW Golf Wagon & GTI
Type: five-door wagon and three- and five-door hatchback GTI
Price: $22,675 to $31,875, GTI, $28,675 to $31,075

Highlights
• Plenty of interior and leg room in the wagon
• Only clean diesel compact wagon available in the market
• More standard features in GTI model